September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
The kids are back to school and fall selling season is upon us. September is a fantastic time to refresh your listings and create unique, eye-catching marketing campaigns that will get your listings sold now.
The market has already peaked in many areas. Motivated sellers are now dropping their prices to make sure their properties under contract as quickly as possible. Here’s what to do to make sure your listings garner the attention they deserve now as well as into 2023.
Check Zillow to determine how much down payment assistance is available
DownPaymentResource.com and Zillow have partnered together to provide Zillow users with access to all the down payment assistance programs available for each active listing on Zillow.
To locate this information for your listings, do a property search on Zillow. Directly below the “Request a tour” button you will see another menu that says:
Overview, facts and features, price and tax history, and “Month” (for “Monthly cost.”)
Hit that tab and next to it you will see “Down Payment assistance.”
Here’s what was available for a listing priced at $489,000 in the building where my brother lives.
To refresh your current listing, add this information to the comments section in your local MLS. You can also use it on your brochures, open house flyers or for any other types of marketing you’re doing for this property. Here’s what to say:
According to DownPaymentResource.com, you may qualify for up to 13 different down payment assistance programs with up to $24,495 in down payment assistance for this property.
Before using this information, however, review the types of programs available so you’re clear on what’s being offered. By the way, this can be a fantastic tool to use on listing appointments, as well.
For any leads you generate, whether or not the lead is interested in a current listing, direct them to the DownPayment Resource site to view the types of down payment assistance they may be qualified to receive.
Listing refresh — new photos, new price
Whenever you do a price reduction, make sure that you take new photos and post them to the MLS. Additional suggestions include:
- Use a service like BoxBrownie.com to turn some of your existing photos into twilight photos or to improve the lighting on poorly lit photos.
- Do a 360 virtual tour using the service from Matterport.com or from another virtual tour company.
- Add a drone overview of the local neighborhood to your listing. While drone photography can be a bit expensive, if you do a fly-over for the neighborhood, you can use it on any listing presentations you do in that area. You can also use it with a link or QR code for both print and digital marketing.
Today’s buyers want homes like the ones they see on HGTV. For vacant listings, use BoxBrownie to virtually stage the property. If you have a tired or cluttered listing, BoxBrownie also provides a service that allows you to virtually declutter your listing.
Update the garden and landscaping
If the yard looks terrible or needs a landscaping update, Small Biz Trends has a list of its top 15 best landscape apps. Their top-rated app is iScape which is $299 per year and is available for iOS and Android. The top alternative to iScape is the Better Homes and Gardens “Plan a Garden” app.
An additional benefit to using these virtual landscaping apps is you can make the exterior of your listings look as good as possible, no matter what season it is.
Capture the end of summer
Now that we’re in September, you only have a few short weeks left to capture the green summer foliage and the fall-blooming plants for your future marketing campaigns. You can also take pictures and videos of your area’s unique outdoor lifestyle, whether it’s a cookout, biking, hiking, sitting poolside, water skiing, etc.
To illustrate the power of this approach, one industrious agent in the Midwest photographed the front of every home in her farm area. That winter her work really paid off. Her summer and fall photos made her listings stand out from the snow-covered competition. The great shots you take in September can form the foundation for your marketing throughout the year.
In terms of your listings, get in the habit of taking seasonal pictures throughout the year. This is a powerful way to update your marketing materials and make your listings look fresh on the multiple listing service.
3 fall holidays in 4 weeks — take advantage of them
In addition to capturing the changing colors this fall, the three fall holidays provide a wealth of opportunity for both face-to-face as well as print and digital marketing campaigns. Some marketing ideas include:
- Many agents have had great success with costume parades or pumpkin carving contests for Halloween. If you want to go the scary route, hold a haunted house or a contest for the scariest yard decorations.
- For Veteran’s Day, search the local newspaper archives for Veteran’s parade pictures or for stories about local heroes from 50-100 years ago.
- At Thanksgiving, send out paper or digital “Happy Thanksgiving” cards to your present and past clients. Other alternatives include doing a food drive for needy families or inviting your past clients to pick up a free pumpkin pie for their Thanksgiving dinner.
Themed open houses
Themed open houses are a tried-and-true tactic that has worked well no matter what the holiday. For example, at Halloween, you may have hot chocolate, hot apple cider, Halloween candy, and mini pumpkin pies. Supplement these with Halloween-themed plates, cups and napkins.
If you’re doing a pumpkin-carving contest, costume party or haunted house, arrange for a food truck and fun prizes for the kids.
Use Spac.io for your open houses
In my opinion, Spac.io is the best open house lead conversion system ever. To use Spac.io, load all your listing information into the app, including any 360 tours, drone flyovers, market data, photos, etc.
When someone attends your open house, ask them to sign in on your mobile device to obtain the property information. Whether the lead provides their email or mobile number, you just converted the lead.
Spac.io also provides, “eye-catching and impressive seller reports to keep clients informed with information on attendees, the quality of leads, and much more.”
In today’s slowing market where the number of price reductions is soaring, Spac.io allows you to notify everyone who has signed in at your open house on the Spac.io app to be notified immediately about the price reduction. There’s no better way to generate additional interest from those who have already visited the property.
Help them lower their property taxes
As 2022 wraps up, many people will receive a tax bill based on prices from earlier this year, even though those prices may have dropped substantially. This is especially true in areas that saw a major surge in prices during the pandemic and are now experiencing significant declines in value. If this is the case in your area, your buyers who paid top dollar should no longer be assessed at a purchase price that is greater than what they can sell for today.
To help your clients appeal their valuation, provide them with copies of the documents they will need from the county tax assessor along with a copy of your personal CMA.
Also, gather the estimated values of their home that are posted on the Chase Home Price Estimator (often the lowest) as well as the estimated values posted on Redfin, Realtor.com (there are four of them), as well as Zillow.com. Use the prices that best illustrate what’s currently happening in your market as support for a lower valuation.
The hottest new real estate marketing innovation launching this fall
Foiye is currently in a soft launch right now. Their mission: To enrich the lives of the real estate and home design enthusiast.
Look for Foiye to be a powerful alternative to marketing your listings and your business on YouTube or on any other video marketing channel.
To get started on the site, create your Folio on Foiye at no charge. You can then begin posting your videos, photos, blog or other real estate-related content. Best of all, there’s much more in the pipeline with Foiye’s formal launch later this fall.
September will fly by before you know it. To make sure your listings obtain the maximum exposure possible, use the 10 unique strategies above to create the buzz that will enhance the probability of selling your listings right now.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.